Happy Friday, friends!! I’ve been busy working on the laundry room redo, but I’ve hit some roadblocks (long story – blog post to come!). So, while I’m trying to figure out how to get around those roadblocks, I thought I’d tackle a smaller project in our home: fixing the gallery wall over our stairs.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with our gallery wall – it’s just that it needs some refreshing. It’s been about the same since we moved in almost three (!) years ago.
Of course, that got me thinking about big blank walls generally. What should you do with those big wide spaces in your home? Those areas are tough – should you hang several little things or one big thing, or little and big things, or leave the wall blank? So, today on the Friday Five: Five Ways to Decorate a Big Wall.
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1. Go with a gallery wall.
You can see tons of examples of gallery walls on Pinterest and in magazines. In fact, you can even find sample layouts for gallery walls on my Pinterest board on gallery walls and halls.
For the gallery wall above our stairs, I chose mostly art that our kids made. I love the bright colors and the kids (and I) love seeing their art in a place of honor.
No matter what materials you want to include on a gallery wall, the keys to a good gallery wall are:
- Hang the art in a way that complements the space. For example, if your gallery wall is the wall above stairs, the art should be hung on an angle that mimics the angle of the stairs (see the above picture).
- Map out the gallery wall before you hang it. Just lay out the art on the floor in the arrangement you want. That way, you can move things around before you put holes in the wall! You could even lay out the arrangement on craft paper and then tape the paper to the wall to ensure the exact placement you planned!
- Have a good mix of items on the gallery wall. Mix in paintings or drawings with graphic letters or numbers and sculptural or architectural elements. Have some small elements and some larger ones.
- Have a mix of materials/media as well: metals, wood, and paper. That creates interest on the wall.
- Don’t want to put 1,000 nail holes in the wall? Use command strips like these that allow you to hang art and photos without damaging walls!
- Hang things that are meaningful or lovely to you, and that you’ll want to see every day.
In our old house, the gallery wall included a Mother’s Day card from my daughter and a beautiful card given to me by a friend when I was going through a rough time.
If what you want to include in your gallery wall seems too small, grab an empty frame, paint it a happy color, and hang it around the smaller item. I did that with the ampersand and card above.
2. Add big elements.
This is almost the opposite idea from a gallery wall, where you add several smaller (or a mix of different sized) elements. Instead, add one or a few big elements.
In our old house, in the dining room, I had a big expanse of wall to cover. I tried doing a gallery wall, but it wasn’t right for the space. Instead, I did this:
I found these oversized mirrors at IKEA and bought three. I love repetition of a bold design element like this, and the mirrors actually make the room seem bigger. Perfect for a big wall like this.
Maps are also a big, fun, and usually inexpensive element to add to an empty wall:
I bought this map from a woman who found a bunch of old maps in her attic. It’s one of my favorite things in our home – so much character! I hung it above our guest room daybed – seemed appropriate since it’s a map of “Vacationlands”!
3. Create a command center.
If the blank wall is in a central location – the kitchen, breakfast room, mudroom, etc. – turn the empty wall into a command center.
In our old house, we had an empty wall in our breakfast room. The breakfast room was the room where we not only ate our meals, but also did homework, did puzzles and crafts, and had “family meetings.” Thus, it only seemed logical to add a command center to this wall.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to create a family command center like this. In our old house’s command center, above, I took an old window and made a memo board out of it (the window was free – I found it on the side of the road!), I added two dry erase boards from Target (I found on sale at back-to-school time), and a mail sorter from HomeGoods (also on sale – $30).
You can also create a chalkboard out of a cabinet door:
4. Make it an accent wall.
I love paint – it’s an inexpensive and relatively easy way to completely transform a space.
Before, our hallway was just beige and boring. After, the color gives this wall, which was kind of an awkward space, some dimension and interest:
A big accent wall essentially becomes art in the room:
5. Paint a mural.
That’s what I did in our 1929 house breakfast room. I painted a big tree, reminiscent of the one in the Paddington movie:
I realize that not everyone wants to paint a tree in their room, but it’s just an example of what you can do with a big expanse of wall. Any kind of mural would work!
And, if you don’t want to paint it yourself, you can find wall decals that are mural-sized!
What have you done with a big wall in your home? Share in the comments!